Old world sensibility and contemporary design come together in the newly opened Sydney and Melbourne Gewurzhaus spice stores.
April 7th, 2015
The Gewurzhaus Herb & Spice Merchants first Sydney store is opened in the Strand Arcade, whilst Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market serves as the locations for the city’s fourth store.
The stores designers at Doherty Design Studio harnessed the hands-on tradition of the traditional spice market, the classicism of the European retail experience and the contemporary thinking of today to entice and intoxicate food-lovers.
Being the city’s first store, the Sydney location was seen to have to introduce the ethics and provenance of the spice brand through a unique ‘destination’ experience, while the Melbourne store is all about the tradition of self-serve spice shopping.
“We take our customers seriously, so asked Doherty Design Studio to combine 21st-century intelligence with 19th-century customer service and an attention to detail to express our heritage, our customers and our quality,” say owners Eva Konecsny and Maria Konecsny.
“It was important to maintain that tradition of refined German shopkeeping in both service and aesthetic, and to let the spices and their history speak for themselves,” the duo say “Doherty Design Studio draws attention to the age and history of the spices through a timeless design, which could be current now or 100 years ago. That is what references our spices’ histories, not the exoticism of their backgrounds”
On the design of the Sydney store, Doherty Design’s Mardi Doherty says that “The retail psychology behind Gewurzhaus is a destination store – a specialist store that not only taps into the sensory experience of smell, touch and taste, but also inspires people to seek it out and linger as they contemplate their choices”
“Desiring a strong refined charm, we balanced a contemporary aesthetic with a sense of old-world European retail charm to craft a store that you might expect to see in the back streets of Berlin, Hamburg or Munich.”
The Sydney store was designed to evoke the comfort of a kitchen and to encourage people to linger and explore. Display is the hero of the fit-out to showcase the spices, kitchen and cooking essentials and accessories. Spices are stored in softly curved acrylic tubs along the shop walls and display plinths in the centre of the store. Brass detailing plays on Gewurzhaus’ gold brand colour and works with shelving to act as a common thread connecting the spices and revealing their different countries of origin as well as categories for Sweet, Salt, Tea and Peppers. Bespoke lighting, a signature of Doherty Design Studio, is in the form of pendants that take their shape from jelly moulds. This adds a quiet element of quirk and underpins a sense of contemporary-meets-traditional design values.
The Queen Victoria Market store, tucked into a tiny 27sqm space, is all about the self-service factor. Mardi Doherty says “Each new Gewurzhaus store needs to have its own personality through its interior scheme. We incorporated Gewurzhaus’ gold branding at the front of the store, yet played with a contemporary, design-driven resolution to the traditional self-serve spice market concept.”
The result is a design that references the traditional spice markets of exotic locations throughout the world, but answers the owners’ desire for a contemporary take on traditional German styling through materiality.
The Strand Arcade Sydney: Michael Wee
QVM Melbourne: Tom Blachford
Doherty Design Studio
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Serie Architects’ founding principal Christopher Lee has single-mindedly designed with utmost consideration of the city and the cultural and societal norms that come along with it. The resulting works are thoughtful contributions to the cities they inhabit.